The rapid spread of Covid -19 across the world and our country Zimbabwe has had profound effects on our society. Beneficiaries under Small holder Irrigation Revitalisation Programme have not been spared by the COVID 19 pandemic as production and agricultural activities slowed down across the schemes and greater scheme areas. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) study (2020) more than 60% of the Zimbabwean economy is informal and Covid-19 restrictions resulted in massive loss of jobs for farmworkers, with women being mostly affected.
To mitigate the effect of COVID, SIRP under the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF supported training and production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) components to mitigate the impacts and constraints brought about by COVID-19. The project funded the training on production of sanitizers, liquid soap and facial masks for targeted 12 women groups (420 members) across the four provinces in Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Midlands. PPE making groups include the youths, young women, elderly women and women with disability for irrigation schemes and the greater schemes. Majority of the households depend on income from agriculture to get by. Hence diversity will improve the livelihood, resilience to Covid and participation in mainstream economic activities.
Through provision of PPEs and relevant information, efforts are targeted at reducing and managing the spread of the pandemic. The project intends to sustainably increase diversified production, productivity, income and improve resilience of households in targeted schemes and sub-catchments, in communal and old resettlement areas.
Women PPE making groups in Exchange, Maryocca, Hamamavhaire (Midlands province), Phakamani,Chelesa and Asambeni (Matebeleland South ) captured on the picture above received training on manufacturing of face masks, gel sanitizers, liquid sanitizers, hand washing soap, foam bath, dish washer and toilet cleaners.
Mrs Moyo the Chairperson Asambeni group in Guyu Matebeleland South, Zimbabwe was happy with the training and had this to say during the training “ Now that we are producing our own dishwasher we will have cleaner homes. The bath foam will improve our body skin texture after long laborious day. Under normal circumstances, rural communities used to travel to nearby cities to buy masks and sanitizers which were beyond their reach but recently, after rolling out women PPE making project the gap is expected to be closed. We expect to supply the local health centres, school and retailers our finished products”.